Front page photo caption: Tasman Rugby Union’s Mark Cochrane, left, and Nelson Orthodontist Andrew Marriot with some of the mouthguards donated to local kids. Photo: Andrew Board.

Mountain of mouthguards

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Andrew Marriot is in the business of a perfect smile, so protecting the teeth of local kids with free mouthguards is a perfect fit.

The long-standing sponsorship of free mouthguards for junior rugby players between Nelson Orthodontics and Tasman Rugby Union has now ticked over a couple of milestones: ten years and more than 50,000 mouthguards donated.

Andrew says he’s delighted to help protect the teeth of Nelson kids.

“As the only orthodontists in town, we feel a community responsibility and we really want to focus on stuff that involves youth, dental health and giving back to the community.

“The feedback we get from some of the clubs is that it saves the parents money and some have even said it’s the difference between a kid playing sport or not because buying a mouthguard is just an extra expense.”

As junior rugby prepares to kick off for another season after the school holidays new Tasman Rugby Union rugby development officer Mark Cochrane says mouthguards will soon be handed out to local clubs and schools.

“It has been a great, long-standing relationship. We know they [mouthguards] prevent concussion, dental injuries and if kids get used to wearing them now, at this age, they won’t have a problem wearing them when they are older.”

Andrew says all JAB players from aged six to under 18 level receive a free mouthguard in the Nelson and Tasman regions.

“It’s really neat to know we’re helping so many youth in the region. It’s a bit like having a helmet on your bike, isn’t it? Every kid needs one.”

Nelson Orthodontics also makes custom mouthguards for the Tasman Makos each season.